Creating a minimal wardrobe is super trendy right now and I totally get the hype. By creating a smaller wardrobe, you save space, time, and money. You can invest in pieces that you love and start shopping differently.

In the spirit of transparency, I probably have over 250 items in my wardrobe and I am no where near accomplishing this life goal of minimizing my wardrobe. But, I thought that by creating this post, I would get one step closer to being ready to clean out my wardrobe and living with simpler, more intentional pieces in my wardrobe. Living intentionally is important to me and reducing the amount of “stuff” that I have is a big goal.

Here’s how I eventually plan on creating a minimalist wardrobe. Please leave additional tips below if you are currently practicing “capsule wardrobes” for each season or if you’re currently living with less.

Define your Style

This one is easy for me, because I feel like I have really defined my style over the years. I’ve become a good friend to the monocrome wardrobe. Most of my pieces are black, gray and white, with a little touch of color. The colorful clothing tends to get worn a lot less. I like wearing clothes that I am comfortable in and will almost always choose comfort over trendy fashion pieces. I’m into edgy pieces mixed with a little bit of boho. It’s fun to play with your style, but when you’re downsizing your wardrobe, you want to get specific with what style you love. What style speaks to you?

Donate or Sell your Clothing

Easily the most difficult part of creating a minimalist wardrobe is eliminating a majority of the pieces sitting in your closet. This feels like an instant road-block for me, because while I want this ideal wardrobe, I can’t part with a majority of my pieces.

Form four piles: Give Away, Throw Away, Keep & Maybes

If you really want a super minimal wardrobe, give away the ones in the maybe pile. If it’s not an immediate “Keep,” it needs to go. Harsh, I know. They’ll be more loved in another home.

Own the Basics

I know not everyone has the same style as me, so this is definitely just a suggestion based on my particular preferences. I would make a majority of my wardrobe black, white, gray, and tan or brown. There’s a few reasons why this works. For one, you can pair items together much easier. It’s the lazy form of pairing clothes together and that makes getting ready much easier for me. For another, people won’t notice as much that you rotate the same clothing over and over again. Subtle colors (or lack of color) tend to be less noticeable. If you’re wearing bright pink every Wednesday (because on Wednesdays we wear pink!), I’m definitely going to notice. But maybe you don’t care about that. It’s really all about personal preference.

Invest in Nicer Pieces

The best kind of capsule wardrobe is one where you have higher quality pieces. I can justify spending a little more money on pieces that I’m wearing frequently. Plus, if you’re washing clothes a lot more often and it’s bad quality, they’re going to fall apart a lot faster. If you have to keep purchasing new items to replace it, you’re kind of defeating the point of a small wardrobe.

That being said, I don’t think you need to spend hundreds on each piece. Just do a little research and read reviews. As a matter of fact, below I have my ideal wardrobe that I created for ya’ll. Most of the items are actually from H&M and aren’t pricey at all. Almost all the items pictured below, with a few exceptions, are under $50.Under-30-Minimalist-Wardrobe

This “Under 30 items” list doesn’t include under garments, workout clothing (including leggings), work clothes, or accessories (two scarves would definitely be a helpful addition.) I would definitely need those items in my wardrobe as well.

Items above are based on this free minimalist wardrobe checklist that I have created for you. This check-list is perfect if you’re just getting started on baring down to just the essentials. It helped me figure out what my most important items that I absolutely need are and what isn’t as essential. If you’re shopping for a full new wardrobe (which I’m currently day-dreaming of doing) this checklist is your jam as well.

Simple Tutorial for using Polyvore to Create a Virtual Wardrobe:

If you’d like to create your own virtual dream wardrobe, you can do so on the website Polyvore. Here’s a quick breakdown on how to use the website if you need it.

Go to the website. Create an account if you wish, but it’s not necessary. Press “Create” on the top right hand side. Make a new cleared canvas (Press “New” on the left-hand side if it comes up with a template). And just start browsing & searching. Drag the clothing items onto the blank canvas.

When I had the canvas how I wanted it, I simply screenshotted it. There’s probably a better way to save to your account, but I did that so I’d have the perfect frame the way I wanted it.

I was wondering how people had done it before – so I thought I’d share with you the super simple way that I did it. It’s a tad time consuming putting it all together, but so worth it. It really helped me visualize what I wanted my wardrobe to be. Before doing this, it was hard to conceptualize what my wardrobe would consist of – even when I had it all written down on paper. Use the free checklist I provided below, then search through Polyvore for the items that are so you. 

Wardrobe Checklist

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to actually achieve a wardrobe of only thirty pieces. But, by creating an ideal wardrobe, I now know what pieces I will be buying in the future. I am only buying pieces that will become staple items in my wardrobe. I’m one step closer to seeing that a smaller wardrobe could be doable. Most of these pieces can be mixed and matched with each other, which creates a variety of options. Plus, it’s all clothing that makes me happy and comfortable.  Creating a wardrobe that just speaks to you is an awesome thing, friends.

I’ll keep you updated on my minimalist wardrobe and I’d love for you to do the same. Leave us a comment!

PS- We have an article on how to incorporate color into your neutral capsule wardrobe here.

how to plan your dream capsule wardrobe with less than 30 items. minimalist wardrobe checklist included

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  • Malia ‘Lili’ Jallah

    thanks for the tips on how to use polyvore! Also great checklist, do you have any tips for adding more color to a capsule wardrobe?

  • Hi Coley,

    I’m in the process of creating a brand new minimalist wardrobe from scratch. I’m a minimalist by nature; I have having ‘stuff’ around. If I have pieces that are not in constant rotation (aside from special occasion wear) in my wardrobe, it gives me major anxiety. But as I rebuild, one of the main things is quality, which you mention. I think giving up fast fashion when building or reworking a wardrobe is key. Millennials are obsessed with new, new, new, more, more, more and they want it instantly thanks to Instagram and Snapchat, etc. But cheap fashion leads to poor purchasing decisions and a closet filled with junk that either only lasts a season or two before it needs to be disposed or you never wear because it wasn’t really your style/didn’t add to the function of your wardrobe anyway. A wardrobe needs to be built strategically and viewed as a system. All parts need to pull their own weight. Versatility is KEY.

    But I digress :) I write more about why I think everyone should convert to a wardrobe built on minimalist principles here: http://bit.ly/mnmal-clst

  • Marie Cameron

    I have been trying to find the shirt, second column last row forever! Could you help me with a link possibly?

  • Judith | Make Stuff Pretty

    I think clothes are where I struggle most with minimalism.

    For me, a lot of it seems to have to do with how I look / my body looks as opposed to how I want it to. And a lot of that comes from buying cheap clothing thinking it will save me money. I feel and look way better in quality clothes – but it is very difficult to make that mental switch to “it’s okay to spend more on a single item *because* this will help me spend less and feel better overall”.

    • Yeah, it definitely takes a mindset shift. It hurts when you see the price tag, especially when you’re used to buying cheaper clothing (like I am). But like you said, overall you’ll be spending less and you’ll be feeling more confident, so it’s worth it!

  • Kate Murray

    I love that leather jacket! Could you please link where it is from. Thanks!